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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Review: For Love Or Money [The Legacy of the Celtic Brooch 7]

For Love or Money [The Legacy of the Celtic Brooch 7]
By Karen Duvall

Claire Ballard's father has left her a family heirloom, a Celtic brooch that was lost five centuries ago. But a crime family in Scotland named Coine says it really belongs to them and they'll do whatever it takes to get it back.

Liam Coine has his own agenda, and part of it is to claim Claire as his own, the brooch being an added bonus. Their families' feud makes for a fiery connection between them, but their attraction to each other fuels the flame even more. Will the brooch end up getting Claire killed by the same family of criminals who murdered her father? Or will it reunite her with her childhood crush?

Writing a romantic novella is a challenge by itself, but to write a suspense romantic novella is almost an impossible task. For Love or Money is the seventh novella in the Legacy of the Celtic Brooch series and the second of the series, I've read.

Claire is hard to figure out, she is a little too complex for the brief time we have to get to know her. It seems life has dealt her one hard ship after another and she deals with each one differently. Liam is just as confusing. In one paragraph he scolds himself for letting Claire feel uncomfortable, but says "old habits die hard," referring to his days working for his crime boss uncle. Then half a page later he thinks, "that part of my life is buried so deep that I rarely give it a second thought anymore." So is the habit buried or not?

While the characters of Claire and Liam are confusing, it isn't enough that it pulls away from the story. When a reader begins a novella they need to understand the author is limited in the amount of development that can happen. Claire and Liam are already fully developed, it's as if we have a brief snapshot of them. A view into their lives as it transpire, not a lot of back story or building, just 'wham! hold on tight.' Although, I never felt like I really knew them, I was intrigued and pulled in by them.

The reader finds Claire in the middle of dealing with yet another curve ball from life. When she returns home, reeling from both current and past events, she finds Liam.

Liam is on a rollercoaster himself, we have a few clues as what 'issues' that makeup the ride but for the most part they are a mystery - a lot like Liam. My only real complaint is: the reason Liam comes to help Claire is not very clear. Karen Duvall does a wonderful job of developing the plot, building the suspense and drawing the reader in. The plot is filled with twists and turns, all of which are well developed and complete. The suspense is built cleverly, coming to a climax that is very satisfactory. Not only does For Love or Money have complex characters, a well developed plot but Karen Duvall also does an excellent plug for Locks of Love: a charity that donates 'real' hair wigs to children who have lost their hair while going through chemotherapy.

An HEA ending is alluded to, but keeping true to Clair's strong character she isn't ready to commit fully to Liam after just a brief reunion and I appreciated that. This brief snapshot into the lives of Claire and Liam is an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon.


Reviewed by Magnolia